Red Stop-Sign "THC" Stamp on All Pot Edibles Is New Version of Old Idea

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The State of Colorado is suggesting that a red stop sign with the letters "THC" inside be used as a visual warning that a food item is actually a marijuana edible.

If the state gets its way, the symbol will not only appear on packaging for edibles, but it will also be physically stamped onto the products. And there's also been discussion of banning the use of the word "candy" when it comes to edibles, even if that's actually what it is.

New ideas? Not exactly. Back in September, our Amber Taufen told you about the efforts of the marijuana working group charged with House Bill 14-1366, signed into law in May 2014.

The bill requires the Department of Revenue to "adopt rules requiring edible retail marijuana products to be shaped,stamped, colored, or otherwise marked with a standard symbol indicating that it contains marijuana and is not for consumption by children" by January 1, 2016.

But the practicality of meeting these standards has proven to be troubling. At the time of Taufen's report, one proposal floated by Smart Colorado, a cannabis-criticizing group whose Diane Carlson is a member of the working group, called for all marijuana edibles be colored orange.

Here's how Taufen described the push-back on this notion:

Although it might seem easy on the surface to designate orange as a color that indicates cannabis infusion, for example, the operational implementation isn't nearly so simple. That solution could work for drinks or even baked goods, but when a working-group member raised the issue of whether color would work equally well for bulk infused goods, such as granola, the Smart representative at the table suggested that the granola-makers could add carrots to the recipe. Similarly, working-group cannabis industry members who emphasized their commitment to natural ingredients were told that it would probably be easy to find natural food dyes that would align both with the state guideline and the quality of their food product.

Practicality was also an issue when it came to the subject of a stamp on all edibles, as another except from Taufen's post points out:

Another possible solution — an obvious stamp of some sort that could be used to impress an image on hard candies and other products — was held up as a questionable example by the baked-goods representatives in the working group, who pointed out that stamping a brownie with an image isn't always feasible. The suggested solution to this problem was adding fondant to all baked goods; however, the Smart Colorado representative who suggested this solution noted she isn't a baker, and fondant frosting is often easier to remove from a baked good than buttercream frosting.

Julie Dooley, an edible manufacturer who's also on the working group, expressed similar reservations about a one-size-fits-all solution in an interview with CBS4.

She added that "our biggest question has always been, ‘Is there a need for this? Is there truly a crisis in Colorado that we need to regulate this at such a level?'”

No matter the answer to this question, the clock is ticking on the implementation of HB 14-1366. And Smart Colorado's Carlson continues to present the situation as a potential catastrophe, despite the relative dearth of reports about kids accidentally ingesting marijuana edibles — and even fewer examples of them doing more than very temporary harm to themselves.

“The public and are children have had no way of differentiating between candy, soda and food that has marijuana and one that doesn’t," Carlson told the station.

Here's the CBS4 report.

Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.

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